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Rohit Kohli

"Honoured" Sharma explains his captaincy style

India

Rohit Sharma, who was named India's full-time ODI captain last week, has outlined his approach to being the team's white ball skipper.

Sharma, who has played 227 ODIs and 119 T20Is to date, said he was honoured to be India's limited overs captain in men's cricket.

“I’m deeply honoured and grateful for the opportunity," Sharma said in an interview posted on the BCCI website. "It’s a huge responsibility. I’m absolutely happy about it. I look forward to leading team India in white ball cricket. It’s going to be an exciting journey, something that I’m looking forward to."

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Sharma, who has captained India 32 times to date, said his focus as skipper would be on "communication."

“Whenever I’ve gotten an opportunity I’ve tried to keep it very simple, tried to keep one thing in common which is clear communication to the players, making sure that they understand their role," he said.

"For us, the coach-captain, it’s important to make sure that we have clear communication and clear understanding of a player’s role. That is something that I will be looking forward to doing, making sure that people do understand what they’ve been picked for in the team, what they have to do as an individual."

Sharma takes the reins from Kohli, whose tenure as T20I captain came to an end after India ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 campaign with his time as ODI skipper ending soon after. Having captained India to a 3-0 T20I win against New Zealand last month, Sharma will now lead in ODIs as well.

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Hailing Kohli, Sharma had said: "A batter of his quality is always needed in the squad. To have an average of 50 plus in the T20 format, it is crazy and unreal. He has batted and bailed India out so many times from difficult situations.

"The quality and his kind of batsmanship is required. Plus, he is still a leader of the team. All those things put together, you don’t want to miss out. You don’t want to ignore that kind of stuff. His presence is very important to the team."

Sharma's promotion brings the curtains down on Kohli's four-year ODI captaincy career. With a win percentage of 70.43, Kohli has been India's most successful ODI captain, winning 65 off the 95 matches he led India in. Under his leadership, India won 15 bilateral ODI series out of 19.

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Kohli has not only been an excellent captain but has also led from the front with his exceptional batting. 5449 of his 12169 runs at a superior average of 72.65 came as captain, with 21 hundreds and 27 fifties.

Sharma has big shoes to fill in. But the new India captain just wants to concentrate on the job at hand without bothering about the critics.

"When you are playing cricket for India, the pressure is always going to be high. The pressure is always going to be there. There will be a lot of people talking about it; be it positively or negatively.

"It is important to focus on my job and not to focus on what people are talking about because you can't control that. I have said it a million times and I will keep repeating it.

“This is also the same message to the team and the team understand that when we are playing a high-profile tournament, there will be a lot of talks.

"It's just important for us to focus on what we have in hand; which is to go and win games and play the way you are known for. So, those talks outside are immaterial.

"What we think of each other is more important. You want to share a strong bond between players and that is what will help us achieve the goal we want to."

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